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hath made, and endures his temptations there. And when Satan offers him the kingdoms of this world, with all the glory of them, saying, They are mine, and I will give them thee, if only thou wilt bow down and worship me; he maketh answer unto him, “Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” There is no other way of cure than the creation of a new heart, and a right spirit, which rejecteth the communion of the world, because the communion of the world hath rejected God.
But will God bestow upon me such a spirit? Surely he will. And how dost thou convince me thereof? By all his promises; and above all the rest, by the sacrament of baptism, which is constructed on very purpose to give thee this assurance; sígnifying thy death to visible things, and thy life to God, already accomplished in the mystery. Not a promise of, but an actual doing of it for thee, a full privilege of co-heirship, and good title of inheritance; which if thou sue not out by prayer, and receive not by faith, then upon thine own head be the blame: for there it lay for thee, brought to thy door, and thou didst not care to trouble thyself about it at all. There stood an empty seat for thee at the marriage supper, and thy marriage garment hung in the hall, and thou wast invited, but thou camest not. Therefore talk no more about his willingness, but look a little to thine own unwillingness.
But in what way, and by what means, will the Lord bestow this new man, in whose ever-present strength I shall be enabled to discern the world's frauds, and to resist the worldly powers success
fully? By every way, and by all means; but above all others, by the preaching of the word - this very foolishness of preaching which I am now labouring to fulfil; -by this word which I am sowing in thy heart, and which thou art now hearing with gladness, if thou wilt give it patient attention, and not suffer it to be evaporated like the dew, dispersed like the morning cloud, or lost like water spilt upon the ground. If having been this night warned against that deadly enemy of souls, “the world;' that combination of anti-Christian powers, 'the world;' thou wilt regard it as a cunning deceiver lying in wait to destroy,-Satan's masked artillery, ready to be opened upon thy bare bosom, his secret mines ready to be sprung beneath thine unwary feet. If thou wilt give ear to the voice of truth in thy conscience, however still and small, and prefer it to the whirlwind of the world's wrath, or the thunder shouts of its applause; if thou wilt dare to speak the truth to thy brother and friend, and to every neighbour, and to every man, come what will; if thou wilt dare to be singular for righteousness” sake, let the multitude say and do what they please; if thou wilt be patient in well-doing, for the recompence of reward, and labour for the rest which abideth to the people of God; if thou wilt search for thine inward approbation of God's good counsels, and find the depths of thine own spiritual being, and hold on a steady course to the appointed haven, through all storms, and clouds, and heading winds, believing in Christ thy Lord's omnipotency, and pressing onward; then, oh then, assuredly thou shalt become stedfast like a rock, and thy house be stable like a house that is founded upon a rock. But if thou goest to give way before the first temptation, and to give up all for lost the first brush thou hast with the enemy, to hang down thy hands and despond, then what will happen ? Why, thou wilt add another offence to the multitude; heap up to thyself still more certain and speedy destruction, and convert the word into thine accuser.
For why should the seed that I am this night sowing in a thousand souls be fruitful haply not in ten, perhaps not even in one? Not that it is not the true word: I know it to be the true and eternal verity of God: not because you believe it not, for the better part of you hear it with gladness; but because ye have not root in yourselves, and cannot withstand to-morrow's temptations. For the world is now grown so bad, that every man's life is his temptation. Perhaps his house, with its vanities, and its vain companies, and its worldliness; the education of our children, the modes of ordinary discourse, the very forms of affection, business, most surely business; and in short, every other avocation of the world will to-morrow try you, perhaps this night. Therefore, be you ware. Oh, brethren! I want not your ear; I want not your acceptation, which I may have and be short of the one thing needful, which is your honest heart. you
have been honestly and truly convinced of any of these things which I have spoken concerning the wickedness of the world, and its slaughter of all souls; concerning its own final destruction, and the triumph of the redeemed over it in the morning; concerning the work of the Spirit, to carry home the word, and his formation of a spiritual man to desire it, and delight in it; concerning any other thing which
hath been incidentally touched or largely opened in this discourse, I do entreat you not to cast it to the winds, but to weigh it and to ponder it. Oh, receive it into the soil of a good and honest heart, that it may bring forth, some thirty, some sixty, some an hundred fold.
Such is the holy truth, and most important lesson of this passage of Scripture, dear brethren, which I do commend to every one of you; for I am greatly deceived if every congregation of baptized persons, if every church of communicants, doth not contain many of these fair, but false professors. Oh, brethren, I tremble for myself ; (why should I not tremble for you also ?) lest I should have only this joyful experience of the word, and be thin of soil to hold it fast and ripen all its fruits ? I fear there be a thousand forms of trial which would make me shrink worse than ever did Simon Peter. Among which, what do you think is that I fear the most? Not the sufferings of the flesh, which even nature can set at nought in a brave and loyal cause. Not the loss of property, of which I never had, nor ever cared to have any: nor the loss of worldly fame, which may blow its blast into any bosom for aught I care, except that I pity the fair garden on which it blows, like the east-wind, to nip its most hopeful buds and blight its fairest blossoms: but I fear you, -you whom God hath committed to my ministerial and pastoral care. I fear your smiles, and I fear your frowns : there is my snare; from which may the Lord deliver me without putting me to the proof; and if it be his holy will, perfect me without drinking of this cup: yet, not my will, O heavenly Father, but thine be done! And why fear I this so much? Because of the worldly intermixture which I perceive amongst us, and in the best of us; the abominable branch of our evil nature living still, out of which many a root of bitterness may grow to trouble our peace. Oh then, my brethren, as the husbandman taketh the use and service of winter to trench and pulverise the soil of his field, and catcheth the first approach of spring to sow it, and destroyeth every weed which he can come at without rooting up the plant also; I do entreat you, that we should employ this fair weather of opportunity, this sweet season of peace which we enjoy in our church, this morning of instruction, to give heed to our condition, to prune, to dress, to weed, to shelter, and do whatever offices we can by one another for our mutual peace and edification in godliness. And by the blessing of God, I will do my part in preaching searching doctrine, and applying it to your conscience, which you must take in good part, suffering the exhortation, suffering the rebuke: for why, my beloved brethren, may we not grow up in love and mutual ministry of helpfulness to the full stature of the perfection of Christ; a body wherein every one hath his place appointed him of the Spirit, like the various joints of the body, articulated into one another, and giving activity and strength to the whole? Such let us be to one another, full of gravity, full of deep feeling and penetrating truth, avoiding flatteries, complimentary speeches, foolish words, expedient measures, every man speaking the truth with his neighbour, as the elect of God.